Thurston Teachers Bring a Novel to Life

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Two Thurston Middle School teachers used a fresh approach to help their students absorb Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize winning book, “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

In Tammy Bonneville’s language arts class, eighth graders discussed the book during the fall semester.

In Anna Tejchman’s home economics classroom, students experienced the tribulations of the book’s characters during the Great Depression in another way. They identified more than 50 food references in the book, including crackling bread, Charlotte Russe, Lane Cake, and Ambrosia.

Tejchman asked students essay questions about the book’s food references and they prepared a sampling of foods mentioned including buttermilk biscuits, cornbread, teacakes and lemonade.

“The theme of food is very tightly woven into the plot of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’,” Tejchman said. “It is used to illustrate the concept of social justice. To me, food is more than a nourishment. It provides connection not only to other cultures, but also to other times in our history. I am using that connection to bridge the gap between the economic disparity of the time period the book is set in and that of today, to bring a greater understanding of the story to my students.”

Thurston’s principal Jenny Salberg praised the collaboration.


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